LIFE THREATENING INUNDATION LIKELY

While I should probably have waited until at least tomorrow for this post, I was handed this fodder yesterday and just can’t keep it to myself any longer.  For those of you living in caves (apparently with enough internet access to watch uninformative, non-news-breaking blogs) there’s a hurricane in the Gulf.

Again.

Really – who’d have expected that this time of year? Anyway, Texas seems to be making some preparations and notifying some folks along the coastal areas. Apparently, there will some rain, some breezes, and surges.

I typically find little value in the weather alerts accompanying such major storms. They typically elicit a “duh!” response from me. Hurricanes have rain, wind, tornadoes, flooding, etc. etc.  It’s a given. It’ll happen every time a hurricane makes landfall. As sure as rain leaves the ground wet. After I learned this concept as a small child, all I really needed was an indication of the hurricane landing point and the intensity (although arguably, if it’s a hurricane, the base-line on severity has been set).

What I’m getting at is that the National Weather Service has issued some warnings that made for some entertaining reading – mostly because these people were serious. In some instances dead serious. The full info can be read here, but it’s long and mostly typical and it’s so far from me geographically that the localities listed are mostly irrelevant. To save you the trouble of reading the entire thing, I’ll give you a the Reader’s Digest version with direct quotes. (As a side note, I love how the alerts are written in all caps – the sure sign of urgency and shouting making some of these quotes all the more powerful and a few even include exclamation points.)

Of course, we have many instances of the expected warning:

IKE WAS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH. A TURN
TOWARDS THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY WITH A TURN TOWARD
THE NORTH EXPECTED ON SATURDAY. BASED UPON THIS PROJECTED TRACK...
THE CENTER OF IKE WILL MOVE ASHORE NEAR GALVESTON TEXAS EARLY
SATURDAY MORNING.

THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS WERE 105 MPH WHICH MAKES IKE A
CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE. THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE WAS
954 MILLIBARS OR 28.17 INCHES. IKE IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A MAJOR
HURRICANE BEFORE MAKING LANDFALL.

This goes on for the vast majority of a long and usually incredibly boring warning. My enjoyment comes from the inclusion of shock statements and delightful additions such as these:

LIFE THREATENING FLOOD INUNDATION IS LIKELY! ALL NEIGHBORHOODS...AND
POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES...WILL BE INUNDATED DURING THE
PERIOD OF PEAK STORM TIDE. PERSONS NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN
SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY HOMES MAY FACE CERTAIN DEATH. MANY
RESIDENCES OF AVERAGE CONSTRUCTION DIRECTLY ON THE COAST WILL BE
DESTROYED. WIDESPREAD AND DEVASTATING PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE IS
LIKELY ELSEWHERE. VEHICLES LEFT BEHIND WILL LIKELY BE SWEPT AWAY.
NUMEROUS ROADS WILL BE SWAMPED...SOME MAY BE WASHED AWAY BY THE
WATER. ENTIRE FLOOD PRONE COASTAL COMMUNITIES WILL BE CUTOFF. WATER
LEVELS MAY EXCEED 9 FEET FOR MORE THAN A MILE INLAND. COASTAL
RESIDENTS IN MULTI-STORY FACILITIES RISK BEING CUTOFF. CONDITIONS
WILL BE WORSENED BY BATTERING WAVES CLOSER TO THE COAST. SUCH WAVES
WILL EXACERBATE PROPERTY DAMAGE...WITH MASSIVE DESTRUCTION OF
HOMES...INCLUDING THOSE OF BLOCK CONSTRUCTION. DAMAGE FROM BEACH
EROSION COULD TAKE YEARS TO REPAIR.
STRONGER WINDS...ESPECIALLY IN GUSTS...ARE LIKELY ON HIGH RISE BUILDINGS.
BUSES ARE AVAILABLE FOR FOR CITIZENS THAT NEED ASSISTANCE WITH
EVACUATIONS. BUSES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING PICKUP POINTS:

THE GALVESTON-BOLIVAR FERRY HAS CEASED OPERATIONS.

SCHOOL CLOSINGS...THE FOLLOWING SCHOOL DISTRICTS WILL BE CLOSED
THROUGH FRIDAY...HIGH ISLAND...HITCHCOCK...SANTA FE...CLEAR
CREEK...FRIENDSWOOD...GALVESTON AND DICKINSON. THE FOLLOWING
DISTRICTS WILL BE CLOSED ON FRIDAY...LA MARQUE AND TEXAS CITY.

THE BOLIVAR S.U.D. HAS INDICATED THEY HAVE CEASED WATER SERVICE
TO THE PENINSULA.

FOR HARRIS COUNTY GOVERNMENT WORKERS...ESSENTIAL WORKERS ONLY
REPORT ON FRIDAY.

Apparently, they are only essential for the day. Otherwise, they become expendable?

THERE WILL BE NO TRASH SERVICE ON FRIDAY DUE TO THE EXPECTED
HIGH WINDS.

Really? It’s not wise to put out the trash in hurricane force winds and flooding strong enough to displace cars and mobile homes?

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES IS SUSPENDING FLIGHTS INTO AND OUT OF HOBBY
AIRPORT BEGINNING AT 9 AM TODAY.

Does this mean all other airlines are still flying or they just didn’t feel the need to notify the weather service of their schedules?? Or, does it mean that Southwest passengers don’t know that an impending hurricane might require a check of the airline’s website to determine the flight status?

JACKSON COUNTY:
A MANDATORY EVACUATION HAS BEEN ORDERED FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTY.
SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED TODAY.

IT IS RECOMMENDED YOU EVACUATE WITH YOUR PETS. BE SURE TO TAKE A
PET CARRIER...LEASH...VACCINATION RECORDS...AND FOOD FOR YOUR
PET. IF YOU EVACUATE TO A SHELTER...YOUR PETS WILL BE BOARDED AT
A SEPARATE FACILITY.

BE SURE TO START YOUR EVACUATION WITH A FULL TANK OF GAS.

Because gas prices are sure to skyrocket after this weekend.

IF YOU HAVE NO MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION OR CANNOT FIND ANYONE TO
HELP YOU EVACUATE AND NEED ASSISTANCE...YOU CAN CONTACT
979-245-3056 OR 979-244-5318.

LIFE THREATENING INUNDATION LIKELY NEAR THE IMMEDIATE COAST AND
BAYSHORE AREAS!

This next one seemed fairly obvious to me. Really? Hurricanes can destroy buildings? Have these people never seen the news?

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE WILL INCLUDE THE MAJORITY OF MOBILE HOMES BEING
SEVERELY DAMAGED. THOSE THAT SURVIVE WILL BE UNINHABITABLE UNTIL
REPAIRED. HOUSES OF POOR TO AVERAGE CONSTRUCTION WILL HAVE MAJOR
DAMAGE...INCLUDING PARTIAL WALL COLLAPSE AND ROOFS BEING LIFTED
OFF. MANY WILL BE UNINHABITABLE. WELL CONSTRUCTED HOUSES WILL
INCUR MINOR DAMAGE TO SHINGLES...SIDING...GUTTERS...AS WELL AS
BLOWN OUT WINDOWS. UP TO ONE QUARTER OF GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL.

PARTIAL ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED AT INDUSTRIAL PARKS...ESPECIALLY
TO THOSE BUILDINGS WITH LIGHT WEIGHT STEEL AND ALUMINUM
COVERINGS. OLDER LOW RISING APARTMENT ROOFS MAY ALSO BE TORN
OFF...AS WELL AS RECEIVING SIDING AND SHINGLE DAMAGE. UP TO ONE
QUARTER OF ALL GLASS IN HIGH RISE OFFICE BUILDINGS WILL BE BLOWN
OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL CAUSE DAMAGE...INJURY...AND POSSIBLE
FATALITIES.

NATURAL DAMAGE WILL INCLUDE ALL TREES WITH ROTTING BASES BECOMING
UPROOTED OR SNAPPED. NEARLY ALL LARGE BRANCHES WILL SNAP. BETWEEN
ONE QUARTER AND ONE HALF OF HEALTHY SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZED TREES
WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED...MOST COMMON WHERE THE GROUND IS
SATURATED. UP TO THREE QUARTERS OF NEWLY PLANTED GROUND CROPS
WILL BE DAMAGED.

I’ll just reiterate that overall I find the warnings a necessity and full of information pertinent to forecasters.  There are lots of technical details such as official headings, speeds, etc. Obviously, the everyday resident isn’t their target audience and this is why I question the inclusion of such alarmist and obvious statements. If there’s a hurricane heading my way, all I ask is for the news to alert me so I can either hunker down or pack up the family and head to higher ground. I know that a mandatory evacuation also includes the trash company and school teachers. I think most people recognize this.

To me, the saddest part of this most recent hurricane* is the missed opportunity to pull out the “I Like Ike” buttons. Some people have no sense of humor.

* This is not applicable to those residents who may have lost homes or other related catastrophic effects of the hurricane.

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4 Comments on “LIFE THREATENING INUNDATION LIKELY”

  1. DHCruiser Says:

    Lookout for bears!

  2. Christy Says:

    It’s good to see that the local news recognizes the enormity of the situation. “Certain death” and the threat of “bears” on the beach should provide a necessary level of concern for residents without panic. Right.

  3. Cheryl Says:

    Yeah…


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